School overcrowding causes separation at recess

LOVINGTON, N.M. (KRQE) – Crammed classrooms, jam-packed cafeterias and overcrowded playgrounds.

That’s what Lovington school officials say they’ve been battling since the oil and gas boom brought hundreds of new families to the area.

They say one of their biggest problems is recess.

“Since our overcrowding, we have to separate boys and girls to eliminate so many kids on the play equipment,” said Lovington Schools Principal Kelliann Moore.

The superintendent says all of the Lovington elementary schools have a particular playground schedule.

For example, this week only girls are allowed to play on the equipment.

Next week, only the boys get to.

The district says it’s for student safety.

“It’s for their best interest. Just trying to limit the possibility of them getting hurt,” said Superintendent Darin Manes.

Some parents say separating the kids is wrong.

“They’re ilsolating them. They’re separating them. They shouldn’t be doing that,” said Melissa Vega.

Vega has two kids in the Lovington school system. She says they often ask her why they can’t play with all of their classmates.

“They’re like we all want to play together, but they don’t let us play together,” said Vega.

School officials say boys and girls are allowed to play together just not on the big equipment.

The superintendent says in the past ten years the school district has grown by more than 1,300 students.

They had more than 200 new kids last year.

“I think the system works well and we just need to keep our kids safe,” said Moore.

A $35 million school bond was passed by voters last year.

The district says they’ll use that money to add more classrooms and update some of the playground equipment.

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